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The Music Box

Noah Bonaparte Pais on this week's activities at the Bywater music installation


  • Photo by Melissa Styker

"We got some cool shit going on in New Orleans." Appearing with a jack-o'-lantern grin at the beginning of a music video promo, Mannie Fresh isn't talking about Cash Money Records or a Big Tymers reunion. Rather, it's another fiercely local product he helped put on the global map: not-for-profit, limited-edition, found-art-cum-sound-art installation The Music Box, which holds its final Shantytown Orchestra concerts this week on Rusty Lazer's Burton-ized shotgun lot on Piety Street. Apart from giving the Bywater neighborhood and citywide Prospect.2 exhibition a regionally and conceptually felicitous beating heart, The Music Box provided a flying-colors 3-D rendering for Dithyrambalina, the forthcoming musical-architecture project by visionaries Swoon and New Orleans Airlift. This month, it became a magnet for national recording artists, with visits by New York City vanguards Thurston Moore, Black Dice, Japanther and Javelin (the latter of which has an after-party gig with Nicky Da B and Lazer at AllWays Lounge Friday). It also makes for one hell of a Kevin Bacon viral game: What other community rebuilding effort connects international art, improvisational jazz, Mardi Gras Indians, avant-garde indie rock, queer hip-hop, straight hip-hop, Andrew W.K. and Quintron, with a Good Housekeeping Seal from Grandmaster Fresh? Suggested donation $10. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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